TWIST Eats: Hydrating for Sports



Hydration is the key to good nutrition, healthy muscles, and peak performance. It reduces injuries, heat stress, and illness. Players must stay properly hydrated before, during, and after games and practices. But, how much do you really need to drink and why? And, how about sports drinks?

We lay it all on the line here. It’s an easy to underhand playbook for optimal hydration for optimal play.


Day-before hydration:
Teens should drink 8 t 10 cups (2 liters, or about 70 ounces) of water every day. The day before a game, it’s imperative to make sure players hit this target to prep their body for the stress of game day.

 the traditional green Gatorade water bottles are 32 ounces

Game day hydration:
You should start to drink water at least 4 hours ahead of a game, taking small sips of water every 10-15 mins or so, and then throughout the game where possible. This means if you have a Noon kick-off, you need to be up at 8am, to start hydrating and fueling.

Cold water is the best fluid to drink during an activity, and allows for fast absorption. It is a myth that cold water gives stomach cramps.

How much?
Children under 90 pounds should drink 5 ounces every 20 minutes, and children more than 90 pounds should drink 9 ounces every 20 minutes. A child’s gulp equals about half an ounce of fluid. Therefore, a child over 90 pounds should drink at least 18 gulps every 20 minutes.

Although dehydration is possible in all temperatures, the likelihood increases as the temperature does. Be sure to monitor sweat loss, and adjust accordingly. Some teams even weigh players before and after games and practices to monitor water weight loss.

What is sweat, actually?
Our bodies are very efficient air-conditioning systems with 2.6 million sweat glands that cover our bodies. They are all connected and can produce up to 6 pints of sweat an hour! When your body temperature gets hotter than 98.6, your brain doesn’t like that, so it sends a message to your body, telling it to sweat. Sweat is mostly made up of water, with tiny amounts of salts, sugar and urea (urea is left over when your body breaks down protein).

What is happening to your body when you are not properly hydrated?
When you run out of liquids in your body, there are a lot of normal functions that are compromised. Our bodies are at least two-thirds water. When you don’t have adequate water, the balance of those sweat ingredients (salts, sugars and urea) are out of balance. This impacts normal body functions like lubricating your joints and eyes, and keeping your muscles healthy.

Mild to moderate dehydration: dry mouth, headache, dizziness, minimal urine, muscle cramps, tiredness
Severe dehydration: extreme thirst, sunken eyes, confusion, fever, rapid heartbeat, little urination with much darker than usual color, skin that doesn’t bounce back when you touch it – these symptoms are very serious and need professional medical attention

Just say NO to sports drinks!
While many professional athletes may endorse these, they will NOT keep you healthy and well-hydrated. The popularity of these drinks is driven simply by highly effective marketing. The ingredients in most sports drinks will not benefit you, and may even be detrimental to your performance.

Typical sports drinks contain high levels of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. With two-thirds the sugar content of a soda, they are 30 times more erosive on your teeth than water! They also prevent the natural production of your own body’s human growth hormone (HGH) while contributing to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

What if you don’t “like” water?
If you a sports drink lover, you should make a plan to slowly reduce the amount of these in your diet. First, dilute your sports drink with 25% water for a week. Each of the following weeks, increase the ratio of water-to-sports drink until you get to no more than 25% sports drink.

 TIPS: • Don’t allow thirst to be your guide. We’ve all heard that once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated, and this is true. • Urine should be clear or the color of lemonade and not apple juice. Darker urine can indicate dehydration.

After the Game
Finally, due to your now-depleted glycogen levels, it is wise to take in a post-game snack within half an hour after the game, to restore energy levels and to assist your body in making muscle repairs. “Ideally, the post-workout snack includes a combination of lean protein (to build muscle quickly) and simple carbs (to quickly refill muscle glycogen stores. A snack made of non-fructose starch and lean protein is best.”
This can include one or more of the following –
• Chicken and sweet potatoes
• Jerky and popcorn
• Hamburger and butternut squash
• Plantain chips and tuna fish
• Sandwich with some form of meat

A great source for a variety of easy, homemade and all natural electrolyte drinks are sourced from mommypotamus.

Coconut & Lime Sports Drink

  • 3 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup water (or more, based on how strong you prefer the flavor to be)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon is delicious too!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup (or more to taste)

Orange Twist Sports Drink

  • 3-4 cups water (depending on the concentration you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2-3 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup (or more to taste)

Lemon Sports Drink

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt or real salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together and store in fridge. I’ve found that when I make batches with honey – which is naturally antimicrobial – and store in the coldest part of the fridge it lasts for at least a week.

For more information or nutrition counseling, you an reach Katrina here:

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office – (503)635-4656
Encompass Health & Wellness
4309 Oakridge Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR